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Metalheadz Take The Crown
Last night (17th Feb) saw The Roundhouse in Camden play host to a unique piece of history in the form of London’s first cross-genre sound clash. 4 systems showed up to represent the spectrum of bass culture & it was down to the crowd to decide on the basis of 4 rounds who was the winner.
The layout of the venue was exactly as it should be for a sound clash; the 4 systems were set up in a circle, with the crowd in the middle. Red Bull Music Academy (RMBA) had done their homework in executing this one properly & now it was down to the soundsystems representing to bring the noise & get the crowd on side.
The line-up took respected crews from each generation of bass culture, with Trojan, Soul II Soul, Metalheadz and Digital Mystikz all bringing their artists and unique takes on bass-heavy sounds to the fore.
As you’d expect from a soundclash, there was the odd bit of microphone friction (stand up Digital Mystikz!), but this was mostly about the tunes and creating an atmosphere to get the crowd hyped.
The 4 rounds consisted of each system proving they had the skills in selection, energy, flipping the script & playing genres they’re not known for & the final round was just an all-in “biggest tunes you got” kind of affair.
Each system taking part brought their own identities & sounds to the table:
Trojan provided everyone in the place with no question as to why they remain such an important & respected label. Their enthusiasm performing versions of classic reggae numbers was infectious.
Soul II Soul also brought a phenomenal amount of stage presence to their round, with amazing interplay between Jazzie B & MC Chickaboo
Digital Mystikz brought the bass in a big way, with a system that could probably damage continents in the wrong hands. It’s no secret that these guys have taken a lot of influence from Metalheadz & their MC, Sgt Pokes was pretty full-on in his verbal slaps to the other systems (something he got called out on several times over the course of the night).
Metalheadz just brought the tunes, an all-star line-up (featuring Goldie, Storm, Andy C, Caspa, GQ, Commix, Justcye & Rod Azlan) and the party. The energy on the Metalheadz stage was immense….It was one big, inclusive celebration of bass from start to finish & emphasised the family vibe that the label has.
The third round was an interesting one, as when every other system were selecting other genres from the box, they all went for drum and bass! In response to this, Metalheadz opened this round with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which was an unexpected take-the-roof-off moment! Classic tunes like A Guy Called Gerald’s “Voodoo Ray” also provided a slice of history whilst simultaneously feeling as fresh as the day they were made.
At the end of the night, host Don Letts evaluated the crowd response & Metalheadz were declared the victors. Goldie took the opportunity at this point to get Jazzie B from Soul II Soul on stage with him & explained the influence that Soul II Soul had on him when he started out making music.
Overall, it was an amazing night. Hopefully, the first of many soundclashes to come and most definitely history in the making. Big love to everyone who took part, the amazing crowd & RMBA for putting it all together.